Monday, December 1, 2008

Taking Time Off from NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month has just come and gone. If you joined in this year's contest, then you may have won yourself the big prize of Personal Fulfillment for Having Finished a 50,000 Word (Or More) Novel in Less than a Month. If you didn't win, don't fret: you can still continue your novel. At least you have a few words written down, and that's always the start of something!

Whether you won this year or not; and whether you joined this year or not, here are a few tips that you may want to take into account when you've finished your writing spree. These tips are equally, and even more, important when you have finished writing the first draft of your novel.

1. Do not be afraid to step away. Your novel is your friend. It's your baby. It's the pet that you've cared for and lost sleep over. But remember: you lose people when you smother them; your baby won't grow up properly if you're keeping too tight a watch on it; and your pet will be spoiled if you aren't giving it enough space. Stepping away will give you a chance to later see your novel from the outside, looking in. You'll be able to see inconsistencies in your narrative and characters, and you could edit your work better.

2. Engage in work that is routine or repetitive. Mow your lawn. Clean out your closet. Crochet or sew something. Keep a notebook handy, though: because repetitive or routine tasks relax your brain, you can sometimes get ideas about your novel at the most unexpected times.

3. Rest your eyes. Stay away from your PC as much as you can. If you won NaNoWriMo this year, chances are, your eyes are still smarting from the hours you've spent in front of your computer!

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